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Conference Tournament Previews: American, A-10, Big East, Big Ten, and SEC

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Yesterday, we previewed the ACC, Big 12, Mountain West, and Pac-12 conference tournaments. By tonight, all but the Big Ten (among the major multiple bid conferences) will have tipped off. Here is a rundown of the American, A-10, Big East, Big Ten, and SEC.

BIG EAST CONFERENCE

When: March 12 – 15
Where: New York City, New York
Format: Top 6 seeds get a bye
Seeds/Matchups: #1 Villanova, #2 Creighton, #3 Xavier vs. #6 Marquette, #4 Providence vs. #5 St. John’s; #7 Georgetown vs. #10 DePaul, #8 Seton Hall vs. #9 Butler.

Tournament Outlook, for all teams that could earn at-large bids

Villanova: The Wildcats cleared the smoke and carnage of last week, and emerged as the favorite for the final #1 seed, if they can win the Big East Tournament.

Creighton: Right on the #3 or #4 seed cut line entering the tournament.

Doug McDermott 3001 points

Xavier: Should be in. A loss to Marquette will have them nervous. A win on Thursday and they should definitely be in.

Providence: Providence and St. John’s play a must-win game, and Providence might need to beat Villanova as well.

Georgetown: Right on the cut line right now, but a win over DePaul does nothing to change that. Might need to beat Creighton in the semifinals to secure a spot. That would definitely do it, but another loss would put them at 1-4 against top teams and weaken the argument about their record against top teams trumping bad losses and an RPI that would fall outside other teams.

St. John’s: Probably need to reach the final, with a win over Villanova, to make the NCAA Tournament.

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

When: March 12 – 15
Where: Memphis, Tennessee
Format: Top 6 seeds get a bye
Seeds/Matchups: #1 Cincinnati, #2 Louisville, #3 SMU vs. #6 Houston, #4 Connecticut vs. #5 Memphis; #7 Rutgers vs. #10 South Florida; #8 Temple vs. #9 Central Florida.

Rick Pitino demonstrates his elaborate mating ritual

Tournament Outlook, for all teams that could earn at-large bids

Louisville: The defending National Champs have been rolling. If they can win the tournament, finish in the top 8 in the polls, I think they overcome the weaker RPI and could rise as high as a 2 seed. If they do not win, a 3 or 4 seed is more likely.

Cincinnati: Cincinnati is right on the 3/4 line entering the tournament.

Connecticut: They shouldn’t get dinged too much having to play Memphis in the opener on the road. Likely in the 6 seed range.

Memphis: They get to play in Memphis, can they take advantage? Can slip below an 8 seed, not likely to get higher than a 7 unless they win tourney.

SMU: SMU is a team that has a chance to greatly change it’s seeding. Beat Louisville in the semis, and they could jump into a top 7 seed. Lose, and the RPI and the committee will seed them down.

ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE

When: March 12 – 16
Where: Brooklyn, New York
Format: Top 4 seeds get a bye, 12 and 13 seeds play-in game to face the 5 seed.
Seeds/Matchups: #1 Saint Louis, #2 VCU, #3 George Washington, #4 St. Joseph’s; #5 Dayton vs. #12 George Mason/#13 Fordham winner; #6 Massachusetts vs. #11 Rhode Island; #7 Richmond vs. #10 Duquesne; #8 La Salle vs. #9 St. Bonaventure.

Briante Weber vs. Jordair Jett

Tournament Outlook, for all teams that could earn at-large bids

St. Louis: still got the #1 seed in the tournament despite the recent slide, but have plenty riding on this tournament. Could fall anywhere between a 5 and 8 seed.

VCU: The Rams will be a dangerous matchup in the tournament, and fall in the same boat as St. Louis. A conference tourney title could vault them to a 5 seed.

Massachusetts: Probably around a 7 seed, but could fall to the 8/9 loss if they don’t advance to the semis.

George Washington: Likely in the 8 to 10 seed range and in the tournament, not sure they can improve seeding that much.

St. Joseph’s: Can’t feel completely safe after a home loss to La Salle, and a potential showdown with Dayton awaits. Likely to get in, but want to win it to feel secure.

Dayton: The Flyers have surged and are just in right now. Can’t afford a loss in the opener, and likely need the win over St. Joseph’s to lock a berth up.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT 

When: March 12 – 16
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Format: Double bye for top 4 teams, bottom 4 teams play in opening round
Seeds/Matchups: #1 Florida, #2 Kentucky, #3 Georgia, #4 Tennessee; #5 Arkansas vs. #12 Auburn/#13 South Carolina winner; #6 Ole Miss vs. #11 Vanderbilt/#14 Mississippi State winner; #7 LSU vs. #10 Alabama; #8 Missouri vs. #9 Texas A&M.

Michael Qualls putback dunk against Kentucky

Tournament Outlook, for all teams that could earn at-large bids

Florida: Should be locked into a #1 seed after going undefeated in the SEC in the regular season.

Kentucky: The Wildcats have plenty to play for as far as seeding goes. They could really use some big wins and a tourney title to get into the top 5 seeds in the NCAA tournament.

Tennessee: I believe Tennessee locked up a bid with the win over Missouri, and as long as they play Arkansas (so no bad loss) I think they get. They can vastly improve their seeding with more wins.

Arkansas: A 25 point loss at Alabama leaves Arkansas very much on the bubble. A bad loss in the opener would be fatal. May need to beat Tennessee.

Missouri: The Tigers have played themselves into outsiders over the last month. A win over Florida, something most bubble teams could not match, is all that can save the tourney hopes now.

BIG TEN TOURNAMENT 

When: March 13 – 16
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana
Format: Top 4 teams get byes
Seeds/Matchups: #1 Michigan, #2 Wisconsin, #3 Michigan State, #4 Nebraska; #5 Ohio State vs. #12 Purdue; #6 Iowa  vs. #11 Northwestern; #7 Minnesota vs. #10 Penn State; #8 Indiana vs. #9 Illinois.

Aaron-Craft-dives-on-the-ball-and-calls-timeout

Tournament Outlook, for all teams that could earn at-large bids

Wisconsin: Probably locked in as a 2 seed, a conference title could open outside possibility of a 1 seed if lots of other upsets occur.

Michigan: Playing to fall on the 2 seed or 3 seed line.

Michigan State: Based on their overall win/loss profile, probably a 5 seed. However, the Spartans could make a run, show they are healthy and play well on neutral courts, and rise higher. 

Ohio State: The Buckeyes will be somewhere in the 6 seed range.

Iowa: Iowa has lost 5 of 6. They should still be in, but the RPI has crept toward 50, and another loss to Northwestern might cause the committee to re-evaluate.

Nebraska: Nebraska has sealed a tourney bid with 10 wins in the last 12 conference games, after beating Wisconsin. Playing for seeding, right now probably a 10.

Minnesota: Minnesota probably needs wins over Penn State and rival Wisconsin to get in the NCAA Tournament.

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